“The electronic cigarette is dangerous, we don’t even know what’s inside!”, “Why not stay with the classic cigarette because we have no perspective on the dangers of an electronic cigarette?” are phrases that we have all heard at least once! In contrast to the composition of a conventional cigarette (which we do not know precisely the content) that of an e-liquid composition is known and measured precisely.

Composition e-liquide vs cigarette classique

The composition of a cigarette :

A classic cigarette contains more than 7000 chemical substances, several of which are carcinogenic. Some of these substances come from the tobacco plant itself while others are added by manufacturers or generated by combustion (mixture of fire, heat and oxygen that transforms the base material). Here is a list (far from being exhaustive) of some of the elements that make up a cigarette:

Elements present in the tobacco plant (tobacco naturally contains different chemical components before it is processed):

  • Nicotine, which is the component responsible for addiction but is not a carcinogen (see our article on the subject);
  • The arsenic that the tobacco plant absorbs when it grows (present in the pesticides used to protect tobacco plants) which is very toxic and carcinogenic.

Products added by manufacturers to prepare cigarettes, cigars… :

  • Compositional agents used to impart flavour and texture and to improve the shelf life of cigarettes. These agents are not harmful at the base but they release several dangerous substances in contact with fire, during combustion.
  • Nicotine levels are often increased by tobacco companies to increase tobacco addiction (NB: in Canada, the nicotine content of cigarettes has increased by 53% since 1968).

Hundreds of substances generated by the combustion of tobacco, each one more dangerous than the next:

  • Ammonia in the smoke ingested by smokers promotes the absorption of nicotine into the body and thus increases the risk of addiction. Ammonia is found in: detergents and disinfectants.
  • Benzene released by tobacco smoke that penetrates into cells and changes their DNA, causing cancer. Benzene is found in: gasoline, some glues and many pesticides.
  • Cadmium, which causes serious damage to the lungs and is also responsible for yellowing of teeth and loss of smell and taste. Cadmium is found in: batteries and dyes.
  • Hydrogen cyanide which damages the respiratory tract and makes the lungs more vulnerable to infection.  Hydrogen cyanide is found in: pesticides and some plastics.
  • Formaldehyde in tobacco smoke is known to cause leukemia. It is an extremely toxic product and one of its common uses is to preserve corpses.
  •  Tar that sticks to the walls of the airways and causes lung damage.
  • Carbon monoxide which affects the transport of oxygen in the body. It affects the heart, brain and muscles of people who inhale it. Carbon monoxide is found in the exhaust gases from cars and wood stoves.
  • Nitrogen oxide which irritates the lungs and makes breathing very difficult.

Composition of an e-liquid :

E-liquids meet the requirements of regulations relating to: medicines, general safety requirements, hazardous substances and mixtures (CLP and REACH). According to the regulations, the composition of an e-liquid must clearly appear on the product label. The hazard statements indicated on the MSDS are also mandatory on the label (if any) and this document is available on request for professionals and individuals. An e-liquid can therefore hide nothing from you! Let’s see a little (with no big surprises) what a classic e-liquid is made of:

  • Propylene glycol which serves as a taste enhancer in an e-liquid. It is widely used as a preservative in other industries such as food, pharmaceutical or cosmetics. Propylene glycol, associated with nicotine, also enhances the “hit” (throat sensation that is sought after when taking a puff).
  • Vegetable glycerine, which has a slightly sweet taste, allows a dense and voluminous vapour. It is also widely used in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries. 
  • Nicotine (if the rate is higher than 0 mg/ml) which is a substance naturally present in the tobacco leaf (but also in eggplant or tomato for example). It is an effective way to wean oneself off tobacco by bringing the satisfaction of a cigarette to smokers. The nicotine level can vary from 0 to 20 mg/ml depending on the e-liquids and brands. Nicotine is recognized as a stimulant and should not be used by minors.
  • The food-grade flavour(s) that give the product its taste. Of natural or synthetic origin, they represent 10 to 15% of the final blend. From the simplest tastes to the most complex flavours, e-liquid manufacturers are not lacking in imagination… you’re bound to find something to suit your taste buds!
  • Alcohol and/or water (optional) which serve as a “support” and allow to untie, preserve and fix the aromatic molecules. Alcohol is generally only present in very small quantities.
  • Some e-liquids (depending on the composition) can, when heated, release molecules such as acrolein or formaldehyde in micro quantities. Strict regulations have also established maximum quantities that must not be exceeded.

At Kemix, we use, for all our products, raw materials rigorously selected by our purchasing department: 

  • PG, VG and nicotine: guaranteed European Pharmacopoeia, 
  • VG of plant origin 
  • 99.2% pure Nicotine
  • Certified food quality flavours

After this article, do you still think that the electronic cigarette can be as harmful as the conventional cigarette? Many scientific studies have been made on the electronic cigarette and the conclusion is irrefutable: it is better for health to vape than to smoke!


Sources : https://quebecsanstabac.ca/